EU's labelling law 'disguised anti-Semitism'

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The Europe Israel Public Affairs Committee (EIPA) which lobbies on behalf of the Holy Land in Brussels, says: “The question that has to be asked is: Was a move on labelling even necessary? What ends does it serve from an EU perspective other than souring the political milk with one side in the peace process?” Meanwhile, on the home front, anti-Israel groups have managed to get the SA Consumer Commission to open an investigation of the “Israel” labelling issue across the entire retail industry.
by ANT KATZ | Nov 13, 2015
Relations between Israel and the European Union (EU) nosedived on Wednesday after Israel derided as “shameful” a decision by the 28-nation bloc to specially label products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. ran an Associated Press (AP) story this week under the headline:
“Israel: Europe’s Decision to Label Products From Jewish Settlements Is ‘Shameful’.” The headline gives their readers a clear picture of how they feel about it. 

AP reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the EU had taken an “exceptional and discriminatory step” for “political reasons”, while Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon added to the condemnation by calling the move a “shameful step that grants terror a prize”. Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said the measure amounts to "disguised anti-Semitism" while the Israeli government has said it is suspending all EU meetings over the issue.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry (FMI) said it’s “puzzling and even irritating that the EU chooses to apply a double standard concerning Israel” while other territorial disputes around the world are treated differently. After the decision was announced, the ministry summoned the EU ambassador to Israel.

It added that the step “raises questions” about EU’s role in the region and could have implications on Israel’s relations with Europe. It added that the measure also will harden Palestinian positions and make it more difficult to resume peace talks.

On the home front... 

Meanwhile, on the home front the South African National Consumer Commission (NCC) launched an investigation into Woolworths over allegations of false Israeli labelling in September 2015. Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed was informed that an investigation had been launched in a memorandum dated 30 September (and seen by Jewish Report) from the NCC's Director: Complaints Handling: Mr Fikile Ntuli.

A single Woolworths customer in Durban had complained about two instances where she suspected that Israeli goods' countries of origin had been altered - in one case to Spain and in the other to South Africa. The report gives Woolworths’ not-unlikely explanations of both events, but the commission decided to undertake a full investigation anyway.

BDS-14 HOMEBDS-SA, the local arm of US-based anti-Israel NGO “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (Israel)” – published Ntuli’s memorandum on the morning of September 29 despite it being dated  September 30.

Shortly thereafter BDS-SA boasted in another media release that the NCC had now decided to extend their anti-Israel labelling probe to other retailers.

“Following an initial complaint against Woolworths, the NCC has undertaken to extend its investigations into the broader South African retail sector,” said BDS-SA. The NCC complaint was initially only into Woolworths and its Israeli produce, they said, but had been extended to other retailers and products.

BDS-SA also announced this week that they planned to attend Woolworths’ AGM on November 30. Last year their similar attempt led to chaos.

Back to the European Union

The 28-member EU’s move came after months of procrastinating. The union is now seeking to differentiate between its relations with Israel and with the settlements, fearing that a continued status quo would never push the Israeli government into changing its settlement policies.

EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis insisted the measure was “a technical issue, not a political stance”. He told AP that the guidelines had to be taken after three member states - Britain, Belgium and Denmark - had already imposed special labelling on their own, forcing the EU to streamline measures throughout.



Dombrovskis was clear in stating that the EU does not support “any form a boycott or sanctions against Israel”, insisting that Israeli products from within the internationally recognised borders still benefit from EU preferential tariff treatment.

The Europe Israel Public Affairs Committee (EIPA) which lobbies on behalf of the holy land in Brussels, said yesterday that “after much fanfare, the EU published its guidelines on labelling of products in the West Bank and Golan Heights.”

EIPA said that “the decision to publish these guidelines makes zero political sense from a set of EU institutions that want to be seen as an honest broker in the peace process”.  Said the lobbyists: “This lack of balance and a feeling of Israel getting the stick while the Palestinian authority gets the carrot has already had grave consequences for the EU- Israel relationship.”

Israel has taken the following retaliatory action this week:

  • President Reuven Rivlin has cancelled his planned visit to the EU in Brussels in December
  • The EU envoy to Israel was summoned to the MFA and was reprimanded
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended dialogue with the EU on a number of fronts
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Hotoveli said the MFA will suspend all peace negotiations with the EU
  • Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked said she will examine taking legal steps against the EU
  • Minister Uri Ariel has returned his European-made Citroen and is now driving a Japanese car


  1. 2 nat cheiman 14 Nov
    Labelling is a good thing. It makes people aware. The woolies labelling resulted in an increase in sales of Israeli tomatoes. It also affords people to resist items from Belgium, Spain , France and other European countries that marginalize Israel (and Jews).
    The steps Israel took are to be applauded. However, it should include the labelling of ALL items produced in Europe so that the consumers can make their own decisions on whether to buy or not.
    What is sauce for the goose is ...............etc
    The labelling cuts both ways.
    BDS will go to the Woolies AGM with a slight disadvantage and that is the Paris killings which were not carried out by Christians or Jews
  2. 1 max strous 18 Nov
    The EU concerns itself with the Palestinian desire to  label goods made in the west bank, whilst the Palestinians rejoice in the slaughter that took place in Paris on Friday night. Shame on the EU leadership for taking such a step. France is part of Europe.....Part of the EU
    Has the EU nothing more to concern themselves with.?


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